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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Vaccine Passport?: Where you can travel if you’ve been vaccinated

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Have you been vaccinated against COVID-19? Here are some destinations that don’t require you to quarantine!

Qatar’s health authorities on Thursday confirmed residents that have completed their course of the COVID-19 vaccination can return to the country without having to quarantine.

Now that this major restriction has been lifted, we’ve put together a list of countries that allow for vaccinated travellers to enter while legally bypassing measures that have for more than a year posed a serious obstacle to travel.

As the health crisis continues to strike the global tourism and travel industry, inoculation campaigns around the world have provided a slimmer of hope.

Nearly a year into the pandemic, vaccine passports have become among the most prominent topics, with countries announcing the lifting of restrictions exclusively to those that are vaccinated.

To date, millions of people around the world have already taken the vaccine. In the UK alone, over 15 million people have been vaccinated, “while the US is currently administering 1.6 million shots a day,” according to international reports. 

Read also: I thought I had recovered, then came ‘Long Covid’

In Qatar, latest figures show 100,000 shots have been given since December 23 when the inoculation programme was first launched.

Meanwhile, several nations around the world are exploring how digital certificates and passports could help return to normalcy by identifying those vaccinated against COVID-19.

Among the first countries to launch a digital COVID vaccine passport was Bahrain, who announced the move earlier this year. 

But a number of other destinations around the world have also announced either dropping border restrictions for travellers who’ve been fully vaccinated, or easing them.

Some European nations and tropical islands around the world are open to those that have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, providing access without precautionary entry requirements, such as home and hotel quarantine.

Here are 7 destinations that have so far opened doors to eligible travellers.

Cyprus 

Cyprus was the first destination to announce plans to reopen its borders to fully vaccinated tourists without having to quarantine.

Arrivals who provide proof that they have been fully vaccinated will be permitted access without having to show a negative PCR test result upon arrival, according to reports.

“This will likely only apply to those arriving from destinations on the country’s safe travel list, which is regularly updated,” a statement noted. 

“The amended action plan is expected to further boost the interest of airline companies to carry out additional flights to Cyprus, improve connectivity and increase passenger traffic,” Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos told the Cyprus Mail newspaper when the announcement was made last year.

While some sources claimed that the new plan would come into effect on March 1, government officials have not yet confirmed a specific date.

Estonia

For those who are planning to visit Estonia, all you’re required to do is show evidence that you’ve received the vaccine from one of the nine suppliers around the world, or  proof that you’ve recovered from the novel coronavirus in the past six months. 

However, only vaccination certificates produced in Estonian, Russian or English will be recognised.

Georgia 

Georgia has also opted for lifting quarantine requirements for those who received the vaccine.

Georgia’s foreign minister recently announced that all visitors who’ve received the full course of any COVID-19 vaccine are allowed in without the necessity of showing a negative PCR test.

“Citizens of all countries, traveling by air from any country may enter Georgia if they present the document confirming the full course (two doses) of any COVID-19 vaccination at the border checkpoints of Georgia,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Georgia said in a statement.

Iceland

Iceland announced that starting from May 1, fully vaccinated travellers from European Union countries, as well as Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, will not be required to quarantine upon arrival and will not be required to provide a negative PCR test.

Only travellers who provide a vaccination certificate in Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish or English proving they’ve had the full course of one of the three main COVID-19 vaccines will be exempted from border restrictions.

However, those who present an “invalid” document will have to “undergo double testing with quarantine in between,” according to the Icelandic Directorate of Health.

Read also: No hotel quarantine exemptions for travellers from high risk countries

Iceland is also planning “to issue digital vaccination certificates to Icelandic citizens who’ve been vaccinated to facilitate the movement of people between countries,” according to reports. 

Poland

Travellers from European countries can enter Poland without undergoing its mandatory 10-day quarantine as long as they provide a certificate confirming they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

The decision by the government came into effect on December 28 last year.

Additionally, those who provide a negative SARS‑CoV‑2 test upon arrival are also exempted from quarantining as long as there is no more than 48 hours between the time the result was issued and when they cross the border.

Romania

Romanian officials have announced that all vaccinated visitors arriving to the territory from permitted destinations are exempt from quarantining upon arrival since January 18.

The European’s country’s National Committee for Emergency Situations (CNSU) specified that arrivals are expected to show evidence that they’ve completed the full course of the vaccine in order to avoid mandatory quarantine.

“The second dose must have been administered at least 10 days prior to their arrival,” stated reports.

“The vaccination proof, including the date when the second dose was administered, should be made through the document issued by the health unit that administered it, whether that be in Romania or abroad,” the CNSU said in a statement.

The Seychelles 

Last month, Seychelles joined the list of destinations to drop quarantine requirements for vaccinated travellers.

Fully vaccinated visitors are now permitted to enter the island without having to quarantine for 10 days. However, a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of travel is still a requirement, “as well as a certificate from their national health authority verifying that they’ve been fully vaccinated,” sources noted. 

President Wavel Ramkalawan hopes that this island will be the first nation to vaccinate its entire population after receiving a donation of 50,000 doses from the United Arab Emirates.

“Restrictions will be further relaxed if this target is reached, meaning those permitted to enter the Seychelles will only have to submit proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel,” stated reports. 

Read also: Qatar Airways extends free tickets for healthcare professionals

Though the vaccines provide protection against infection, the most popular shots are only 95% effective against the virus. This means there is still a 5% chance that vaccinated individuals can get infected and risk spreading the virus to others.

Despite the vaccination, health authorities around the world are still strongly urging people to abide by precautionary measures to help contain the global health crisis.

Are you excited to travel again? Let us know in the comments below if any of these popular destinations are on your travel bucket list.


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